The Casper Mountain Preservation Alliance (CMPA) group is buckling down on their mission to keep a proposed gravel pit out of the Squaw Creek and Coates Road area in Casper.

Today the group sent a 69-page letter to the State Capitol via email, addressed to Governor Mark Gordon demanding immediate action "to preserve the health, safety, and homes of thousands of Wyoming citizens in Natrona County."

"As you are aware, our organization, Casper Mountain Preservation Alliance (CMPA) has expressed profound concern regarding significant oversights in the permit approval and conduct of Prism Logistics’ exploratory activities – in the backyards of our members’ and neighbors’ homes."

Their letter expresses further concerns about the Wyoming DEQ and Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) in their investigation and approval of Prism Logistics' exploratory activities.

"A detailed review of the investigation reports reveals cascading errors resulting in a failure to meet fundamental standards of a competent inspection. For instance, rudimentary tools, such as a map of the exploration sites, were not provided to inspectors by their WDEQ or OSLI superiors. Such gaps in essential investigative tools and discrepancies in measurement practices reveal a disturbing pattern of incompetence and cast serious doubts about the reliability and integrity of both departments' oversight capabilities, and an imminent danger such incompetence creates for our members and their families" reads the letter.

The group is demanding that OSLI open a new investigation and halt any mining or exploratory activities pending such investigation.

"WDEQ and OSLI should also comprehensively review and realign their investigative protocols and enforcement procedures. Both steps are crucial towards restoring integrity and trust in our regulatory processes and ensuring the protection of Wyoming’s citizens, including those in Natrona County, for immediate AND future generations throughout Wyoming."

This group will not back down and cited what they see as detailed failings along with technical and logical flaws, the first of which is a discrepancy regarding the water flow in Platte Creek, which is designated as a perennial waterway.

"This classification, recognizing the creek's consistent flow, distinguishes it from intermittent streams and underscores its ecological importance. Contrary to these well-documented facts, Prism Logistics apparently reported to state investigators that there was no water flow during their February 2024 excavation activities."

The letter includes photographs that challenge Prism's claim, showing that the stream was indeed flowing during the time of excavation.

"Mr. Governor, the first time we met, you jokingly said, 'I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.' Another Ronald Reagan quote is apt – 'trust but verify.' We trusted your claim – now we ask you to help us verify."

The group imagines two possible scenarios:

Extreme Scenario: Imagine a dig site centered 301 feet from the nearest stream edge, with a disturbance radius extending 315 feet. This configuration results in part of the disturbed area encroaching 14 feet past the stream's edge that is protected by the bu\er zone. Based on the investigators’ measurements, this test site passes the 300-foot test because its center is 301 feet from the stream.

Reasonable Scenario: In a more typical situation, consider a test site centered 301 feet from a stream, with a disturbance area – including space for maneuvering equipment and piling spoils – having a radius of 15 feet. Even this seemingly minor exploration site means that the outer edge of the disturbance encroaches beyond the bu\er limit, violating Stip #117.

They argue that both scenarios demonstrate ho

"This lease is issued subject to and conditioned upon lessee’s acknowledgment and agreement that any exploration and development activities undertaken shall” provide a 300-foot bu\er for “any,” implying all exploration and development activities. This misuse of measurement techniques is not just a technical error but a severe lapse in upholding the principles of environmental stewardship required by lease stipulations."

Further, CMPA alleges that on April 29, they discovered another test site just 140 feet from a naturally occurring spring, which serves as a permitted and critical water source for local livestock.

"The addition of another site to the list of exploration pits too close to waterways forces the question: Why is the OSLI choosing not to conduct a full investigation of all the test pits to uncover all breaches of the leases and stipulations? The leases and stipulations themselves provide for protection of the public and adjoining landowners. Discrepancies between our findings and the official reports again raise significant questions about the accuracy and rigor of the investigative methods" challenges the group, who point to hundreds of wells in the immediate area of Prism's projected gravel mines.

"Despite the claimed discernibility, the Land Quality Division approved 15 of the 27 designated exploration sites alarmingly close to critical water resources and apparent drainages, directly contradicting common sense, established environmental protection standards...This approval raises doubts about the adequacy and reliability of the application evaluation processes."

The letter concludes, "We are demanding that these agencies announce such investigative steps and hold on Prism’s gravel mining activities, by no later than the next OSLI Board meeting – June 6, 2024. If such steps are not announced and taken as demanded, we will consider all legal options available. Nothing less is expected of our Board when our members’ and neighbors health, safety, and homes are at risk.

"Mr. Governor, immediate and decisive actions are required to protect these specific citizens’ homes and their safety, and to enhance the quality of oversight and enforcement of environmental protections for all Wyoming citizens. As stewards of Wyoming's natural resources, and protectors of Wyomingites’ right not to have state-sanctioned nuisances commenced in their back yard, it is our collective responsibility to start a proper investigation, and ensure that our environmental policies are adhered to in letter, and rigorously upheld in spirit.

We look forward to your swift action in directing a new investigation and addressing these concerns. We are eager to see significant improvements in the management and oversight of OSLI and WDEQ. The future of our state's natural heritage depends on the integrity and effectiveness of our actions today."

The letter is signed by Chairwoman Carolyn Griffith, Vice Chair Pat Sullivan, Treasurer Jim Harvey, Trustee Jamie Bilek, and Secretary Michael Fernald. Not to mention the 6,000 signatures backing the group.

It was also sent out to Attorney General Bridget Hill, Secretary of State Chuck Gray, State Auditor Kristi Racines, State Superintendent of Public School Megan Degenfelder, State Treasurer Curt Meier, Office of State Lands and Investments Director Jenifer Scoggin, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Director Todd Parfitt, Wyoming Environmental Quality Council, Natrona County Commissioners, Casper City Council, Robinson Bramlet, LLC.

Included are 16 attached exhibits featuring a USGS map, affidavits attesting contiguous water flow, several maps, memos, and the exploration permit application among others.

K2 Radio was sent a copy.

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